Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

preserving the cultural tradition of Irish ceili and set dancing since 1991

Remembering Pat Boler

by Marilyn O'Brien

Sean Coakley

I’ll never forget the day Pat, along with her husband Jim, her sister Mary, and her brother-in-law John, walked into the Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers’ class. We all loved Pat and her group right away. Pat, whose warmth, kindness, generosity, and humor captured all the members of the dance group, had a sweet Irish accent that swept us away.

She was a natural dancer and picked up her threes and sevens easily. With Jim by her side, they graced the floor with their poise and talent. Before we knew it, they were performing, hosting social events, helping plan outings, and spreading love and joy to all.

Pat, born as Anne Patricia Coakley in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland (where Obie’s mother was from), moved to the United States at the age of 20 in 1959. Just a few years later, she met Jim Boler at a Catholic Young Adults trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. They eventually married and lived in Montgomery County for 52 years. They had four children, Jim, Anne Marie, Brendan, and Kevin; all raised in the Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Parish Community in Potomac, Maryland.

Pat was the epitome of grace and charm. She would always take my hand and ask about my family members and life concerns. Her warmth was contagious. It was tragic when an illness overcame her and took her away from Irish dancing. We all missed her smile at dance class.

I saw her just shortly before the pandemic and she was still wonderful and loving. My life was greatly enhanced by having her there. Oh! how I’ll miss her. I don’t know who said or wrote this, but it is certainly true of Pat: Many people enter our lives for just a little while — others pause and plant flowers in our hearts that continue to bloom forever.

February 25, 2022